The official weblog of ClickBook.net. ClickBook streamlines the process of appointment scheduling for small business, schools and other organisations. For technical updates please visit the Technical Blog.

2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Mark Demicoli  21 April 2009 08:04:39 PM

About 2 and a half years ago, we here at ClickBook.net embarked on a project to revolutionise the way in which people make appointments with their service providers.  If people can buy pencils online we figured, why can't they buy a massage or a dental treatment online?  So with a handful of outdated computers and a ration of coke-bottle spectacles, the journey began.

The battle to wrestle people away from their old paper-diary habits has proven a tough one.  While the idea may be great, technology, education, and cyber-fear itself do have a part to play in slowing down the services revolution.

We've decided to throw down the gauntlet in this posting and get some discussion going about how 'fabulous' or not the switch can be.  What your clients love and hate, and what you dearly wish we'd change to make your life easier.

Image:2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Arthur C Clarke, in his classic 2001: A Space Odyssey believed that computers would be chauffeuring us around between stars, at least by now.  In 2009, shouldn't they be at least doing a little secretarial work??

So, it's over to you.  What is the real story in reality world out there?  Has this humble little service made a difference to your life?  What have your clients had to say?
Comments

1Auckland yoga therapy  4/07/2011 3:57:27 AM  yoga

Wow Impressive! Your blog is very informative. However, it is pretty hard task but your post and experience serve and teach me how to handle and make it more simple and manageable.Thanks for the tips… Best regards.

2Becca Torns-Barker  19/11/2009 3:17:17 AM  Pros and Cons of online scheduling

The majority of my clients love it and use it faithfully. A few have had trouble booking, and their reminders come at strange times. Ex. one client books back-to-back appointments for a scrub followed by a massage. Client gets the reminder emails a day apart.

It's incredibly easy for me. I have two subcontractors, but my number is the main number for the business. So I can book appointments for my subs as needed and I don't have to play phone tag with them.

CONS

- Accessibility by blackberry or palm is increasingly important.

- When editing an appointment, I wish I could not only change the day and time, but sometimes the provider as well. Ex. I was sick last week and was able to switch several of my clients to my other therapist. I had to delete the appt in my calendar and create it in hers. Should be easier than that.

WISH

- We could hold appts with credit card info to help avoid no shows.

3Online Scheduling  18/08/2009 12:41:20 AM  The Benefits of Online Scheduling

A number of valuable web based software solutions are available online; which can improve the operation of a busy office or practice.

To combat the loss in revenues, resulting from missed meetings and appointments (to both clients and practioners), some professionals have utilized a web based meeting or appointment scheduling software; to monitor client meetings and appointments.

Email reminders will reduce no-shows and self-scheduling clients can book their own meetings or appointments online.

In addition, it frees up time for Professionals to concentrate on other areas of their workload; online or in the office.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and insight.

Best wishes.

4Rachel Ah Kit  23/05/2009 6:57:54 PM  Untitled

As a student I've found the service great for creating a professional image to my home practice clients. I'll most likely continue using Clickbook once I've qualified. I LOVE the text reminders as do my home prac. clients, especially since many are younger and prefer to use technology.

My comments (which may have already been mentioned) include:

1. The ability to update client information. It would be preferable to be able to update client info for them, especially email addresses. I would rather not have to create a new record, as this loses the booking history.

2. Ability to change a booking rather than cancel and create a new one. It's a bit laborious.

3. Would love to be able to download client info as well as booking info.

4. The email request to confirm a client booking - I would rather be able to check the booking first. At the moment clicking on the link confirms it without being able to see it first, so if I need to discuss with the client and change it, I have to then cancel and rebook.

I'm sure there will be more suggestions as I use it more, but for now....well done!

5Martin Kincade  24/04/2009 10:50:42 AM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Also... forgot!

Client Records/Notes:

I use the notes section to keep a track of treatments. Is there any way we can create notes by date, so they appear with the client history.

i.e., when I view a clients file... this shows the last 3months treatment dates/time. I would also like to see treatment notes for that date, those alleviating the need for paper records every visit.

Thanks, M.

6Martin Kincade  24/04/2009 10:42:41 AM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Its great, I use it at a clinical practice where I work and I also used clickbook privately, for home appointments.

As a small independent worker, its great to have something available so comprehensive that I didnt have to pay out heaps of cash and find out that it doesnt suit my needs (as with most others on the market).

Some improvements/suggestions:

Booking/Search facility by Therapist:

When re-booking clients at end of a treatment, I usually highlight the therapist (from practiconer list LH of screen), then navigate through the diary (RH of screen) to see if there is available space for that day. When I then go to make a booking (by selecting the service), the systems takes me through the whole day/therapist selection process again. Is there any way we can search in the way described and then go directly to the booking facility for the day/therapist already selected? Then choose the service required?

Client Data/Database Facility:

There is currently no way, I know of, to up-load client data or to download/print client files. Is this possible in the future to download a list or to link to an external database?

Booking Message for Clients:

When making or changing a booking, I would like a facility to leave a message for the client. ie, "Helen, I have amended this booking to 1.30pm. Please call me, if you have any problems with this time", etc. At the moment, there is only a faciltiy to leave a message on the client file for therapists to read.

Apart from these improvements, all good. Keep up the good work.

Thanks, Martin.

7April Welch, CPO  24/04/2009 1:11:40 AM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Like many of the other comments, I have tried other online booking sites as well. And by far ClickBook is where I will stay.

There are so many advantages that my clients have appreciated!

The two suggestions I have:

My "regulars" have standing appointments (ex: every Mon @ 11am) when initially setting everything up for them I inputted the repeat appointment so they could see their profile already done & simply confirm the use of the site - this created 20+ emails at once. One for each booking. (yikes!)

My recommendation would be to queue the email reminders to go out just the 24 hours before when inputted by the admin.

Also, reschedules currently need to be cancelled & new appts made in order to generate any reminder. Could we simply have an update sent if there is a change to an appt? My clients have been hesitant to go through all the steps to reschedule & end up calling me to do the process (defeating the purpose of ease for both of us)

:-}

That said, as a Professional Organizer, I love everything about ClickBook! Thank you for all the hard work & more importantly ~ thank you for asking us how to make things run more smoothly!

I have recommended your site to many of my colleagues & will continue to do so!

Kudos!

april

8breanna iwaszko  23/04/2009 11:28:53 AM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

I've been using clickbook for a long time now and by far the best feature is the super fast response to problems or questions - regardless of how simple or complicated the situation.

I really appreciate the reminder's being sent automatically as that is one significant job that I don't have to concentrate on any longer.

Most of my clientelle book appointments directly with me, and I am mobile a lot, so not being able to access clickbook from my mobile causes me hours of anxiety sometimes - as I have taken a booking personally but may not be able to get to a computer for 6-8 hours which can result in what is effectively a 'double booking" (this has actually happened a number of times & makes me look really unprofessional when I have to sort it out). So this would be my number one request for improvement.

Secondly, being able to update client information on their behalf. Again, clients that have initially found me on-line and booked an appointment but rebooking direct with me, their mobile number has changed but they are not willing to go back online just to put in a new mobile number (they want me to do it for them). The only thing I can do currently is to delete their account and re-create another one. Lots of mucking around... For this reason I havent encouraged any of my clients to complete their self registration and won't till that changes...

I'm feeling for the guy that created 72 practitioners for a class (previous blog) - boy! I have a much smaller class number but have avoided creating all those practitioners because I think it will look too confusing for my clients. As it is I already have a number of different services to choose from and a person new to the site would be overwhelmed by all the choice. A simpler version of this where someone could click "class orange" and see a page listing "15 seat class maximum - 10 seats available, book now" particularly with a payment link or assocation to paypal or something like that!

All in all - great work - I love it!

Breanna Iwaszko

Kinesiologist

TFH Instructor

9Cara  23/04/2009 7:27:46 AM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

I, my associate, and our clients do love Clickbook, it definitely makes it easier since we don't have a receptionist in our office.

One problem we are having is I am not getting an e-mail when staff put in a cancellation, but I do get one when I put in a cancellation for the same staff member. This seems backwards to me, but I am not sure if that is how it is supposed to be or if I need to change a setting. Also, my staff cannot put in a cancellation for me when a client calls and I am not here, which is inconvenient. Any solutions?

10Vonna Posey  23/04/2009 7:06:36 AM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

In 2008 I had sent out a survey questionaire to find out if my clients had any suggestion to improve my practice. The resounding suggestions was to be able to book their appointments with one phone call.

That started me looking at online booking services.

At the beginning of the year I was using a different booking company and after a month and a couple email suggestions that would make the sight more user friendly for my clients and myself, I switched to Clickbook.

What my clients like about Clickbook is signing up for massage once and having their info stored. No more repetitive typing when booking mulitiple dates of service at one sitting. They really like the email reminders and are very happy about the text reminder on their cell phones.

What would make my life easier as far as a booking system, would be to see a month of appointments at a glance. I miss looking at a complete month on my paper calendar. This helps me when I am double checking billing for insurance clients, as well as booking clients for multiple appointments in my office after their appointment completion.

My other preference would be if I could leave the page up on my computer for the length of a work day without it timing out and having to sign in mulitple times.

I do miss my paper calendar but I know my clients are happier with this ability to book appointments online 24 hours a day.

Now if I can only figure out how to use this for my pet sitting company. . .

It may take me a while to figure it out but I think its do-able.

11PremoMT  23/04/2009 3:32:16 AM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

I've not had much luck with the site as of yet.

I LOVED the calander synch feature, but since the upgrade, I haven't been able to use it.

pros:

My clients love the e-mail reminders.

cons:

not being able to access the site from my blackberry. I use it as my primary web provider, and not being able to access the site is kind of a drag. maybe something to do with my blackberry that I could fix though??

changing date and time is not as easy as I would like it to be.

again I have not used it much, but overall I like the system, and plan on using it more as time goes on. I just wish I could get my clients to use it to book their own appointments, as I am all over the place all the time!

12Muslimah Ali  23/04/2009 1:32:04 AM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

We absolutely Love the service, checked out a lot of services chose clickbook. The clients Love the SMS and email reminders. It has saved me so much time. Now we are able to serve the guest more efficiently.

Great Service

Yeah! Click book!

Ms. Ali

Natural Holistic Hair Specialist

13John Barnes  22/04/2009 10:17:11 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Great program; easy to use and my clients like both the reminders and the ease of booking with me any time of the day ( who books their appointments at 1:30 in the morning? go to sleep people and get off the web).

I have used other scheduling programs that had more robust reporting features, most of which we did not use.

few quick comments:

- several clients have missed their notices because my name was not up front in the subject line and they deleted it along with 27 other emails in their inbox that hour.

- editing/updating client profiles could be easier, and it would help if it could be done from either the client or admin. end.

great to see the feedback from other users.

cheers, John Barnes, Nova Scotia, Canada

barnesmassage.com

14Eve  22/04/2009 8:49:36 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

I've been using Clickbook for Advising appointments with my freshmen advisees! They love the ease of use and reminders. I love the schedule reminders and full calendar of bookings as I can print it out and see just who is meeting next even without a computer. I've tried other programs and this has worked the absolute best for me (-:

15Grace Chee  22/04/2009 4:26:32 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Oops, I just saw the side panel about creating classes/group sessions. Seems a little cumbersome, especially if you have to create 72 spots like Matthew (from blog before) had to do.

My next question would be: is there a way to proceed to payment via PayPal after booking a class, direct from ClickBook?

Most mothers only get time to themselves late at night, by which time my studio will be closed. So I'd like to make booking & payment quick & easy for these time-pressed mums.

16Grace Chee  22/04/2009 4:16:05 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Our clients, my fellow therapists & I all love ClickBook. I've been using ClickBook since it was known as iBookEasy (& participated in its first market research/testing before its launch). It has come a long way & is a great tool for me in my business operations. I can't do without it, simply put.

I'm currently expanding my services & looking to set up infant massage classes. I would like to be able to allow bookings of multiple clients for one time slot. This would be the same as at uni where students log on to enrol for their classes & they can make selections up to the maximum allowable in the particular lecture or tutorial time of their selection.

This would be my next suggestion since it would help me very much if I were to advertise not only the service on my website, but also offer the ability to book immediately & pay for the booking. Or is this too complicated?

17mel kennett  22/04/2009 3:47:10 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

I have experience of another system and have found clickbook far more user friendly so well done so far guys for the hard work.

Comments abut what needs to be improved:

Making the appointment sheet a little more interactive would be good, being able to click on an available space on the appointment sheet and book into it wold be great.

18Cynthia Wunsch  22/04/2009 3:31:23 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

I had tried out a couple of booking services and decided that I loved clickbook, and my clients love the email reminders!

I have some non-tech-savvy clients for whom I must make bookings but for the rest, it's easy and fast.

I wish that there was a way to do multiple locations without having to have multiple emails, as it confuses people who take advantage of both locations. However, I have to say that with a few minor glitches, most of which were fixed when I complained, the site works really well.

PLEASE fix the "outdated mode of encryption" message as some of my clients are afraid to use the site because they think it has a virus.

I anticipate that as I have more clients, it will be even more productive. As cancellations occur, the rest of my clients can see those times become available and book them for themselves, rather than having to call the list of other clients and swap times.

19Felicia   22/04/2009 2:23:34 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

I love it! Since my salon is only open on weekends it really saves me from taking salon appts while working at my full time on weekdays. My Clients love the email and SMS reminders. They will call or text me if they don't they reminders to ask if I've erased their appt. LOL! Also since I have a reduced schedule my clients like the option to see when I am available on-line at their leisure.

A client database would be nice but I'm not picky. Of course since I'm a techno nut having blackberry capability to see my schedule on Clickbook would be fabulous.

I'm definitely a satisfied customer, For several years I have tried and purchased many scheduling websites and software and hands down Clickbook is the best! I have been a customer of Clickbook for nine months and I don't think I'll be making another move. Great Job Mark and Team!!!!!

20Gerald Lopez  22/04/2009 2:12:54 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

I haven't had many clients book online yet - I still do it for most of them, after a phone call.

I have noticed clicks through from the "Book Now" button on my website, but none have actually booked yet. I am sure it will start happening.

Clients (and I) love the SMS reminder system! The whole system is intelligently designed, and I haven't found any major flaws. I look forward to expanding my practice with Clickbook as my "PA"!

Thanks guys,

Gerald

Ayurveda & Yoga consultant

Auckland

www.ScienceOfLife.co.nz

21Lucy Scott  22/04/2009 1:04:44 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Yeah I love it too! It's certainly the best system out there.

I've found on the rare occasions that there's been a glitch in the system, it's been really easy to contact clickbooks and have them fix it for me.

I've been keeping track of what percentage of my bookings are made online and it's an astronomical 67% to date on average. AMAZING!! That has saved me SOOOO much time instead of constantly calling people back and playing phone tiggy.

Needless to say, I am my clients love this system. Especially considering my business have a very heavy internet presence already.

Keep it up guys!!

22Matthew Trip  22/04/2009 12:51:24 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

I have tried many scheduling websites and this is the best solution for my particular needs so far.

My staff of 3 coaches and my clients love this program and have been using it for 2 weeks now. The set up was very easy once the we figured out the logic of how to book multiple customers to a single coach by creating coach1, coach2, coach3 etc.

It would be nice if each staff member had a checkbox that would decide whether or not the staff member is listed on the public homepage. We have had to create over 72 staff members to represent "seats" in a summer camp, and if we could only list the 3 coach staff resources on the public homepage it would be much prettier.

The email confirmation system works great for our needs. All requests get sent straight to email to our Iphones and we just tap to confirm. Really simple. We could possibly add a deny link in the confirmation email?

Another cool feature to add would be an ability edit multiple staff resources at the same time, like apply a general availability change over the 72 resources etc.

Thanks for all the hard work put into this.

23RLSLMT  22/04/2009 12:50:14 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Forgot to make this comment: I wish there was a way to preview new client bookings for approval. I just like to be extra cautious and screen my new clients.

24RLSLMT  22/04/2009 12:46:36 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

I finally got my secretarial staff on-board with clickbook. I have had several clients tell me that they really like the email reminders. I have not used the SMS alert option yet but I am thinking about trying it.

25Taylor Heagy  22/04/2009 12:40:30 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Clients and I love it!! Less phone time. Wish program could be accessed by mobile phone and wish ical feature would return. Thanks for all the great work!!!

26Shirley Relax n Massage Sisters, OR  22/04/2009 12:34:42 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

27Shirley  22/04/2009 12:33:59 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

Clients love the reminders when they come in time, also the ease to see when I am available. Would like it easier to update client file from client and therapist. But all in all like it... So do I as a therapist. Made my life easier... thanks

28Matthew Shane St Germain-Donnelly  22/04/2009 12:23:33 PM  2009: An Online Scheduling Odyssey

My clients (or 95% of them) LOVE this program....

The issues have been minor...One thing that seems troubling is that there isn't an easy way to update their profile...they have to open a new account if they have a new email...

Some people are intimidated by the system and won't use it...But mostly, good things...